Venice 2015: Cary Fukunaga and Tom McCarthy headed to film festival

30 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Looking For Grace to have world premiere at Venice.

ROME — The Venice Film Festival has unveiled a potentially strong lineup with enough studio/specialty titles toplining A-list stars — including Jake Gyllenhaal (“Everest”), Johnny Depp (“Black Mass”) and Oscar winner Eddie Redmayne (“The Danish Girl”) — to boost its role as a classy awards-season platform, plus new works by Charlie Kaufman, Alexander Sokurov, Amos Gitai, Marco Bellocchio and many other high-caliber international auteurs.The Italy-set gathering announced a number of major titles from U.S. filmmakers, including Tom McCarthy’s Catholic church-scandal drama “Spotlight,” Cary Fukunaga’s child-soldier tale “Beasts of No Nation,” and Scott Cooper’s Whitey Bulger movie, “Black Mass.” All three will make their world premieres in Venice and then are expected to complete the trifecta, hitting Telluride, Colo., and Toronto on these shores.Kristen Stewart, Michael Keaton, Eddie Redmayne, Tilda Swinton, Ralph Fiennes and Dakota Johnson are among the stars in movies coming to the world’s oldest major film festival.

The star of Looking For Grace, Odessa Young, also stars in Simon Stone’s drama, The Daughter, which. will screen at the coming Venice and Toronto Film Festivals. As previously announced, Baltasar Kormakur’s mountain-climbing thriller “Everest” from Universal, starring Gyllenhaal, will open Venice out of competition on Sept. 2 — a nice coup for artistic director Alberto Barbera, segueing from “Birdman” as opener last year, and sci-fi thriller “Gravity” in 2013.

That circuit is considered one path to awards attention, putting the films on media and tastemaker radars before they open commercially in the fall (or, in the case of “Beasts,” play in theaters and Netflix simultaneously in the fall). Eddie Redmayne, Johnny Depp and Jake Gyllenhaal are also slated for the film showcase, which takes over the Italian maritime city’s Lido island for 11 days in September. It is only the second Australian film to be selected for the official competition at Venice in the past decade — the other being John Curran’s Tracks in 2013 — and is one of only four to be selected in competition for the prestigious Golden Lion in the past two decades. Luca Guadagnino’s “A Bigger Splash” (pictured), a psychological drama about a famous rock star and a filmmaker (Matthias Schoenaerts and Swinton) vacationing and recovering on the strange sun-drenched Italian island of Pantelleria, is among the promising titles in competition, as are Argentinian Pablo Trapero’s crimer “The Clan” and Gitai’s “Rabin, the Last Day,” a hot-button drama centering around the assassination of Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin.

Venice, which begins Sept. 2, is known as a kind of late-summer equivalent to Cannes and, as such, has many foreign titles on its slate; among the notables this year are Amos Gitai’s Yitzhak Rabin assassination picture “Rabin, The Last Day” and Gianfranco Pannone’s “The Smallest Army in the World,” a movie from and about the Vatican. Brooks, who directed Road To Nhill and Japanese Story, wrote and directed the film about a runaway teen (played by Young) followed to Western Australia’s wheat belt by her parents (Roxburgh and Radha Mitchell). The latest movie from Danish “A Hijacking” director Tobias Lindholm, titled “A War,” is also headed to Venice, while Denmark will be on festival minds in other ways when Tom Hooper’s “The Danish Girl,” about the transgender artist Lili Elbe, world-premieres there on its way to Toronto, likely skipping Telluride. (For the full Venice lineup, click here.) The festival previously announced “Everest” as its opening-night title. The star-laden survival picture, directed by Baltasar Kormakur, walks in some notable footsteps: It follows the openers “Birdman” in 2014 and “Gravity” in 2013, both of which ended up winning best Oscars for best director.

There are also new films from Canada’s Atom Egoyan (Remember, a Nazi-hunting thriller starring Christopher Plummer and Martin Landau), Russia’s Aleksandr Sokurov (the Paris-set Francofonia) and Italy’s Marco Bellocchio (vampire-themed Blood of My Blood). Also vying for the prize is “Francofonia,” in which Aleksandr Sokurov explores the Louvre Museum during the German occupation of Paris. (His award-winning “Russian Ark” in 2002 was filmed at the State Hermitage Museum in St. The Dressmaker, starring Kate Winslet, Liam Hemsworth, Judy Davis and Hugo Weaving, will have its world premiere in the red carpet Gala Presentations section, and The Daughter will have its North American premiere in the Special Presentations section in Canada.

Out-of-competition entries — which are not in the running for prizes — include Scott Cooper’s Black Mass, starring Johnny Depp as Boston gangster Whitey Bulger, and Thomas McCarthy’s Spotlight, which features Michael Keaton as the editor of a Boston Globe team investigating clerical sex abuse. He cited its range, noting the presence of quintessential indie pics such as Laurie Anderson’s “extraordinary” full-length directorial debut “Heart of a Dog,” which is about loss; “Anomalisa,” the fest’s only animated title, which, he said, “is not for kids”; and “Equals,” the latest from “Like Crazy” helmer Drake Doremus, billed as a futuristic love story set in a world where emotions have been eradicated. But there also more mainstream, big-buzz titles like “The Danish Girl,” in which Redmayne plays Lili Ebe, one of the earliest known recipients of male-to-female gender reassignment surgery; and Fukunaga’s “Beasts,” which stars Idris Elba as commander of a child soldiers’ guerrilla force in West Africa. Drake Doremus’ futurisitic love story Equals, starring Kristen Stewart, Jacki Weaver and Guy Pearce, will also compete for Venice’s Golden Lion award as will Canadian director Atom Egoyan’s thriller Rembember, starring Dean Norris and Christopher Plummer. Other members are the Taiwanese director Hou Hsiao-Hsien, who won as best director for “The Assassin” at this year’s Cannes International Film Festival; the French writer Emmanuel Carrère; the Turkish director Nuri Bilge Ceylan, whose “Winter Sleep” won the 2014 Palme d’Or at Cannes; the Polish director Pawel Pawlikowski, whose “Ida” won the 2014 Oscar for best foreign language film; the American actress and director Elizabeth Banks (“Pitch Perfect”); the German actress Diane Kruger and the British director and screenwriter Lynne Ramsay.

Martin Scorsese’s 16-minute short “The Audition,” starring Robert De Niro, Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt and Scorsese himself, is also unspooling, hopefully with Scorsese in tow. Shot at Rome’s Cinecitta Studios, Everest stars Josh Brolin, Jake Gyllenhaal, Keira Knightley and Robin Wright in the true-life story of climbers battling for their lives after a snow storm ravages the planet’s highest mountain. Standout docus include Noah Baumbach and Jake Paltrow’s “De Palma,” marking the first time the somewhat-reclusive Brian De Palma has talked in-depth about his life and career; the Janis Joplin portrait “Janis,” by Amy Berg, who was Oscar-nominated for “Deliver Us From Evil”; Evgeny Afineevsky’s Ukraine conflict-themed “Winter on Fire”; and Frederick Wiseman’s “In Jackson Heights.” In the competition, Russian master Sokurov will bow his hotly awaited “Francophonia” (aka “Louvre Under German Occupation”) billed as exploring “the question of relations between art and war.” The film was shot in the Louvre and produced by Pierre Olivier Bardet and former Locarno fest topper Olivier Pere, current chief of Arte France Cinema. Another hotly anticipated fall release in an out-of-competition spot, Tom McCarthy’s Spotlight is about the true story of how the Boston Globe revealed a massive cover-up of the child molestation scandal within the local Catholic archdiocese. Messina served as Paolo Sorrentino’s a.d. on “This Must Be the Place” and “The Great Beauty.” In a year when Asian entries in Venice are thin, after a strong presence in Cannes, the Lido closer is Guan Hu’s blockbuster comedy “Mr.

Six,” starring Chinese hit-making director and sometime actor Feng Xiaogang as a former hooligan who must take back his son from young wannabe gangsters. Barbera noted that it was “very unusual” for Chinese distributors to show a picture so far ahead of its release, underscoring Venice’s growing allure as a launchpad for mainstream Asian fare. Venice’s cutting-edge Horizons section, which Barbera called “the other competition,” mixes esoteric entries with known names such as American actor Brady Corbet’s “The Childhood of a Leader,” toplining Robert Pattinson; Dito Montiel’s post-apocalyptic war thriller “Man Down,” starring Shia LaBeouf as former U.S. Marine Gabriel Drummer; French film journo Nicolas Saada’s “Taj Mahal,” a thriller set against the backdrop 2008 Mumbai terrorist attack starring Stacy Martin; and Algerian auteur Merzak Allouache’s “Madame Courage,” about a North African immigrant in Paris, who is addicted to a psychotropic drug, after which the film is named.

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